Posts Tagged ‘unfinished business’

A Fresh Start

January 27th, 2017

Today can be an exit from your history and entrance to your destiny

 “His compassions are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a fresh start.”

Life can feel unmanageable, your past cluttered with unfinished business and the path ahead filled with responsibilities. But life is not lived in yesterday or tomorrow; life can only be lived today. Your life is more than the facts of your history or your unrealized destiny. Positively or negatively, both of those are greatly affected by anything, or maybe everything, you do today. You can reinforce your history or rewrite its predictions. You can sell your future cheaply or invest yourself in achieving its potential.

This day is a fresh opportunity to write a new chapter in the ongoing story of your life. Sure, you have made mistakes. There are things you would have done better if you had been wiser. The remedy for regrets is simple. Enjoy a fresh start. Do better; learn from your mistakes rather than repeating them.

King David’s story is a record of repentance and redemption. In repentance, he embraced a greater future. Learn from his example and rejoice with him: “The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:23-24 NIV.

Recognize God as Lord of this day and rejoicing becomes the appropriate response. In grace, your history becomes His story. Today can bring a fresh start. Stop rehearsing your mistakes, regretting your failures, or reliving your record. Your God has a record of redeeming tragic histories. And your God is equally adept at crafting unimagined destinies. Both of those the Holy Spirit accomplishes in the context of today.

The Apostle Paul had history that God covered in grace and mercy. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy.” Read 1 Tim 1:12-17 NKJV. On that road to Damascus, Paul met God face to face and his history was redeemed and his destiny assured. Read Acts 9:1-6 NKJV. People do not turn their life around without divine intervention. Only ignorance or arrogance – or both – would make a person attempt such a life change without God.

Paul found there was only one answer for spiritual transformation and subsequent conformation to Christ-likeness. “I am still not all that I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to Heaven.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT.

Notice that Paul mentioned, “one thing,” and then proceeded to talk about, “forgetting, looking forward, and straining to reach.” The one thing Paul believed crucial was expressed in three equally essential actions: laying aside everything inhibiting about yesterday, living with anticipation today, and giving Godly effort to fulfill God’s calling every day that follows. Today can be an exit from your history and entrance to your destiny.

Today, I pray for you to trust both your history and destiny into Jesus’ capable hands.

Christian Communications 2017

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Unfinished Business

September 22nd, 2015

“As much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18 NKJV.

Embracing your future is difficult with an unreconciled past.

My thoughts and comments today are about “unfinished business.”

There are probably things in your life left unfinished for various reasons, some unavoidably and some unwisely. There are things started but later found not to be all that important, or matters begun without enough commitment, time, or resource to sustain effort. At other times pressing priorities displace previous intentions. Some situations require others’ cooperation or willingness, which they may be unwilling to provide. Occasionally though, there are things that should not be left undone. Jesus chided the Pharisees because they were careful about things important to them but casual about things important to God. To those more religious than righteous, Jesus said, “These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” Matthew 23:23 NKJV. Do all that you can every time you can.

Important matters require closure. Jesus provides a great example. Imagine the joy in Jesus’ heart as he surveyed His life, “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” John 17:4 NKJV. There is a satisfaction of soul that accompanies obedience. It is important to know, “the things (God) has given you to do,” and to do them. Even on the cross, in His pain and suffering Jesus looked to His Father and confidently declared, “It is finished.” John 19:30 NKJV. Unfinished business is neither wise nor profitable. We are all prone to ignore the awkward or avoid the unpleasant situations that would be difficult, painful, or personally costly. Doing so leaves a life more complicated than is healthy.

In light of the coming resurrection and judgment, Paul wrote, “I always strive to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men.” Acts 24:16 NKJV. Embracing your future is difficult with an unreconciled past with either God or man. Leave no unfinished business with either. Jesus told a touching story about a loving father and his two very different sons. Read Luke 15:11-31 NKJV. After a lengthy time squandering his father’s generosity, the younger son realized vital relationships were improperly unfinished. “When he came to himself . . he said to himself . . I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, I have sinned.” There needed to be Godly repentance and restoration with the family – the younger son with both his father and brother, and the elder son with brother and father.  The Heavenly Father was reflected when forgiveness and restoration were offered freely to both.

This is the good news. “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV. Allow nothing to settle in your heart or life that needs Godly closure with God or man. Is there a family relationship, broken friendship, discarded promise, or neglected obedience awaiting your initiative? Paul gave good counsel, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18 NKJV. But be advised; everything cannot be sorted out single-handedly, but the initiative is yours.

Today, I pray for you that your past will be clean and your conscience clear.

Christian Communications 103107

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Unfinished Business

May 4th, 2011

“If you are displeased, I will go back.” Numbers 22:34 NIV

“Unfinished business with others can become unfinished business with God.”

My thoughts today are about “unfinished business.”

Not many people, if any, get everything right on their first try. Life is about recognizing when you are free to move forward, and when you need to go back to do something right that was done wrong, or just left undone. “A wrongdoer is often one who has left something undone, not always someone who has done something.” (Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor). Is there something in your life, in your marriage and family, at your job, or in a friendship that is unfinished business?

I remember too many occasions that I could have encouraged someone so easily with a kind word I left unspoken, or taken more time to listen but didn’t when I could have. I cringe at my lack of responsiveness recently when someone very dear to me was sharing a matter of personal importance to their family; I later realized that I had not given them my full attention nor expressed my care, because I was distracted with something I was on my way to do. I allowed the urgent to crowd out the important. Too many things can remain unfinished business in life.

Today’s verse is from the story of Balaam, a prophet, who found himself on a task without God’s direction and contrary to God’s will. Have you ever found yourself on a course of your own choosing, intentionally or unintentionally without consideration or regard for God’s will? Finally, Balaam became aware of the error of his intended path and the displeasure of God, “I have sinned, for I did not know that You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if You are displeased, I will go back.” Numbers 23:34 NIV. When you realize what you are doing – or failing to do – is wrong, stop doing so! You do not want the end of your life to be filled with painful regrets of important things left undone with eternal consequence.

The moment you are aware of God’s displeasure, turn around. Your righteous relationship with God as well as your personal and spiritual well-being may depend upon your doing what you left undone, or correcting what you did wrong. You should do so not out of fear of what God may do to you if you don’t; you do so out of love for God, with concern for the disappointment you would bring to God’s heart by failing to do so. Leave no unfinished business between you and God – or you and anyone else! “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” Acts 24:16 NIV.

Here’s what the Bible says about unfinished business: “If you are standing before the altar, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember than someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. The come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Matthew 5:23-24 NLT. Unfinished business with others can become unfinished business with God. Unfinished business could be as simple as – appreciation unspoken, a need ignored, respect not given, an honor not shown, a kindness unreturned, a wrong not forgotten, forgiveness not offered, a sin unconfessed, or obedience delayed. I have to stop writing; I have some unfinished business.

My prayer for you today is: keep short accounts of things to be done, or made right.

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Unfinished Business

February 3rd, 2011

“Live . . as temporary residents on earth.” 1 Peter 1:17 God’s Word Translation

“A heart always finds its way home.”

My thoughts today are about “unfinished business.”

You know that feeling when you have been away from home a bit longer than you wish.
The trip was reinvigorating, the time away refreshing and renewing, and the visit was enjoyable, yet there came a time when your thoughts and heart turned toward home. For the follower of Jesus this world never quite feels like home, nor should it. Don’t misunderstand me, we’re happy to be here, and we do a lot of things to make ourselves useful and as comfortable as possible while we are here, but inside you can feel like there should be something more.

You may have heard it said, “Home is where the heart is.” I believe that is true. A heart always finds its way home. Jesus promised there is such a place where the heart will feel at home; it’s just that this world is not that place. Jesus warmly described that place as “My Father’s house.” See John 14:1-6 NKJV. His Father’s house was a place He knew well and missed much.

Instinctively, deep in your heart, you know Jesus has accomplished what He promised, “I go (to My Father) to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may be also.” You can’t be fully happy until your heart is at rest in Christ, and you are finally home in the place He prepares for you.

The Bible describes your inner longing for home this way, “God has set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV. You and I have unfinished business here. This life will always feel a little incomplete, even unfinished. Joseph, son of Jacob, understood that he had unfinished business; God’s promises and purposes extended beyond his lifetime. Read Genesis 50:25/Exodus 13:18-19. God’s plans are bigger for your life than He can fit into your lifetime.

Your heart quietly whispers that to you every time you look for somewhere, something, or someone to complete you. There isn’t a place like that; there isn’t an experience that can achieve that; there isn’t a relationship that can provide that. Some dreams will stay unfulfilled in these brief years. Some prayers will still be unanswered in your lifetime. Relationships will remain imperfect while you live as an imperfect person in a very imperfect world. The best of all that’s in your heart still awaits you at home; in this world, a lot of that is just unfinished business.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “I say with tears in my eyes that there are many whose conduct shows . . all they think about is this life here on earth. But we are citizens of Heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same mighty power that He will use to conquer everything, everywhere.” Philippians 3:18-21 NLT. Read 1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV.

It is a mistake to become too settled, satisfied, or attached to these brief years. So much of this is temporary; too much of it is trivial. The Bible advises, “Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away.”1 Corinthians 7:31 NLT. Live without becoming too attached here; you’re not home yet!

My prayer for you today is: may your attachments be to things of eternal value.

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